“You hear that?” I say to Gandalf.

“No,” says he, “I don’t hear anything.”

Sure that I’m hearing a grumble behind us, “Look back,” say I, “tell me what you see,” Gandalf’s younger neck far more flexible and with a greater turning range than mine. 

A half dozen heartbeats later, “Oh yeah!” says Gandalf, “The Larkspur ferry’s coming up fast behind us.”

Fast is why we’re out near the shipping channel, paddling Gandalf’s tandem kayak. According to the tide logs, we should be close to catching a fast ebb, one that’ll take us lickety-split to Full Moon Beach, the beach south of our put-in, Danny’s Secret Launch.

Catching that ebb’s why Gandalf and I head straight out into the bay from the Secret Launch. Don’t Follow Don and Chief, less interested in the ebb, follow a less aggressive southern course, don’t aim for the shipping channel.

We’re where we wanna be, close to the channel, but Gandalf and I don’t see any signs of a fast-moving ebb: no jouncing water, no ebb line separating fast water from slow, no sense of us speeding along. The bay’s flat and calm. We could be going nowhere, sitting still.

What alerts us to the fast-moving ebb we’re in is a large freighter 50 yards from us on our port side. The freighter, like us, is heading south. What’s strange is this: we’re almost keeping pace paralleling the freighter, the big ship not pulling ahead by much.

We’d like to think we’re staying even because of our skillful paddling, but that’s wishful thinking. Only explanation’s the speedy ebb, hustling us along. So cool.

Cool distracts us, leastways that’s what I think keeps us from spotting the ferry sooner. The good news: the ferry has us in her sights, passes on our starboard side with room to spare. The really-not-so-bad news: while we’re distracted by the ferry, the freighter pulls away, not to be caught by the likes of us.

Gandalf and I pull outa the fast ebb we wouldn’t have known we were in if not for the freighter, paddle toward shore, meet up with Don’t Follow Don and Chief, land together on Full Moon Beach. The tide low, the bay ebbed away from the beach, we have lotsa sandy real estate to park our three boats, set up our kitchen and cookfire.

Last week, I complained about cold feet at Pt. San Pablo Harbor, the cookfire there in a waist-high barbecue. No cold feet this Thurseve, the fire in a hand-dug pit in the sand.

Don’t Follow Don claims our Thurseve takeout meals are the week’s best. No exception tonight: salad, lobster bisque, croissants, spiralized veggies without hot peppers—we distract Don’t Follow Don from even bringing up the topic of hot peppers with talk of whitewater, daredevils, and whirlpools—vegan muffins, and carrot cake.

Paddling back to the Secret Launch along the Tiburon Peninsula, we can hear coyotes yipping, the yipping more noticeable than the Larkspur Ferry’s grumble. We’re not the only ones to hear the coyotes, a chorus of canine howls and yaps echoing the yips.

It’s possible some of the yips and yaps are aimed at the new moon, Saturn, Jupiter, and Mercury in near perfect alignment below her. I figure it’s the subtle illumination of the moon, earthlight reflected off her surface, that has the critters’ noisy attention. Earthlight reflected off the new moon is called earthshine. Moonshine’s something different, just so you know.

We can’t see the new moon or the three planets, the quartet hidden behind the Tiburon Peninsula. What we can see on the Tiburon Peninsula is the late Robin Williams’ home, lit up from the inside like a setting sun. 

The long, single-story house is stretched out on the Secret Launch’s breakwater, an expanse of floor-to-ceiling windows facing us, the harbor entrance a handful of paddle strokes away.

You can see the home here:


Date: Thurseve, 14 January 2021.

Distance:  Six point one nautical miles.

Speed:  One point four knots.

Time:  Four point four hours.

Spray factor: None.

Dessert: Organic muffins and carrot cake.